Questions about the chemical composition or properties of ingredients and dishes.

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10
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1answer
3k views

What determines the 'saltiness' of salt?

I've bought two brands of salt that are completely different in terms of 'salt' concentration(not sure if this is the correct terminology). I realized this because I needed three or four times more ...
8
votes
1answer
613 views

Does the speed of opening of a bottle of wine influence its flavour?

While having a (good) bootle of wine at a friends place I've been told the following: The bottle should be uncorked slowly and silently, not to spoil its bouquet. This statement came as ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Do breadcrumbs really act as a binder in meat preparations?

I routinely hear that breadcrumbs are added to burgers and meatballs to bind them. For example, see the answers to this question: how to stop meatballs falling apart. On the other hand, I have heard ...
3
votes
2answers
372 views

All else held equal, does a pot of tea have more total caffeine than a mug?

Let's say you have one tea bag and can either brew it in a mug of boiling water, or a larger tea kettle of boiling water. The temperature, steeping time, type of tea bag, etc. are held constant. ...
3
votes
1answer
176 views

Vinegar in stock

One day I finished cooking a beef stock. When I poured the stock into a glass bowl and added some vinegar, a cloudy precipitate formed and remained suspended in the stock, leaving it somewhat cloudy. ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How does hydration of a sourdough affect baking features?

Looking at different recipes for sourdough starters, there's everything from a mix as dry as cookie dough to as wet as gruel. In this (danish) recipe from the acclaimed chef Claus Meyer of a pretty ...
4
votes
2answers
381 views

Food-safe rotary evaporator grease

For those of you who have rotary evaporators or other chemistry glassware in the kitchen, what do you use to grease the ground glass taper/ ball joints so that the lubricant does not either absorb or ...
8
votes
1answer
566 views

What happens with bread at >= 94˚C/201˚F? Or: Is temperature a reliable indicator of doneness?

So I baked a rye bread last night (in a bread pan). It was a new recipe for me and I had to adjust some things in it due to missing ingredients, so I could not fully rely on the time and temperature ...
3
votes
1answer
673 views

Why brewed coffee in a pot needs a lid?

Coffee in an electric drip brewer (a model like this) goes all murky brown and opaque very fast, when the pot is left without a lid. With lid, it stays translucent and bright dark brown for quite a ...
5
votes
1answer
340 views

The name or chemical compound responsible for a specific quality of some spices (numbness)

I'm putting together the results of a kitchen experiment and I'd like to be able to identify a phenomenon that I've noticed when using certain spices. I've felt it in some of what are often called ...
1
vote
1answer
406 views

Why does spinach lose its texture when cooked?

I know that cooking spinach until it loses its texture is called wilting, but what is the chemical process that is going on. It it losing moisture? If so why does it look so moist? Thanks!
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does salt prevent soy milk from curdling in hot coffee?

As many people have experienced, soy milk will often curdle in hot coffee. I've experienced this myself with both instant and fresh coffee, and with my homemade soy milk (not my favorite soy milk ...
4
votes
2answers
862 views

Estimating the fat content of homemade chicken foot gelatin

I recently simmered a pot of chicken feet (including skin) for the first time and made an astonishingly gelatinous gelatin. It's clearly suffused with chicken fat, but I have no idea how much -- I ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What chemical(s) gives molasses its flavor so that it is used as an ingredient?

I'm curious why there isn't a zero-calorie molasses substitute. The USDA nutrient database lists a bunch of minerals, but what is it that gives it the "taste" of molasses?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How can I clean these brown iron stains in my pot?

I use a big aluminium pot to boil water. I think the water contains iron because after 4-6 months, the inside of the pot is full of brown stains. The colour is just like ferric. There are lots of ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Dissolving Egg Shell

I know that an egg shell is made up of approximately 92% Calcium Carbonate. The remaining percentage of the mass is a protein matrix. I know that vinegar (5% acetic acid) dissolves the Calcium ...
1
vote
1answer
616 views

Why does chewing gum sometimes change its texture

Although this is more a general food related question, I wonder why chewing gum sometimes changes its texture and looses its chewy quality?
2
votes
2answers
5k views

PH and sour / acid taste

I had always thought low pH foods had a noticeable sour (acid) taste, and vice-versa. But when reading The Bread Builders by Daniel Wing & Allan Scott, on page 54, it says: The sour taste of ...
0
votes
1answer
262 views

Is it possible to thicken frozen cream?

I know you can use frozen cream for cooking applications such as in gratin, but can I thicken the cream? By thicken, I mean making it into something like a bechamel sauce. Would I pour the cream in ...
4
votes
2answers
827 views

By what reactions do moisture and light steal away my coffee's freshness?

Typically, the standard advice for prolonging your coffee is to store it in an air-tight, light-tight, dry container. At a chemical level, what happens when coffee is left in humid or sunny conditions ...
3
votes
1answer
965 views

How come mere water buffalo milk and lemon juice mixture turn into yogurt?

Yogurt is produced by the fermentation of lactose in milk by the bacteria of yogurt-ferment. Without those bacteria it is not possible to make yogurt. But surprisingly, water buffalo milk and lemon ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Why should I add salt to my curries?

I've been advised by a friend of mine that I have to add salt to my curries if I want the spices to come out and not leave me with a bland curry. Now after being a doubter, as I never add salt to my ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Separating Chlorophyll didn't work

I tried to extract chlorophyll from spinach by blending up some spinach and water and straining out the green juice, then heating the juice. I've done it before, but this time, it wouldn't separate. ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Cooking Chemistry: lemon juice/soymilk buttermilk substitute turning bitter and 'rising'

I made a soup recipe the other night (mainly potato, spinach, and veggie broth) that called for buttermilk. I substituted soymilk and lemon juice, reading online that that was a good substitution for ...
2
votes
1answer
275 views

Flavor and Chemical Composition of Thyme

What is the flavor of Thyme? What chemicals give it this flavor?